What is it about?

In The Language of Graphics: A Framework for the Analysis of Syntax and Meaning in Maps, Charts, and Diagrams, Yuri Engelhardt discusses various patterns and regularities in graphic design, addressing visual/pictorial elements in various genres. Many of such elements are "coded" -- which means that these elements have language-like properties. Like words, that is, they have a meaning that is to a considerable extent independent of context.

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Why is it important?

Since people these days take less and less time to absorb information, there is a premium on conveying information, even fairly complex information, in visual form. Studying graphic design is therefore becoming an ever more vital scholarly pursuit.


I have since I wrote this review written a number of papers and chapters pertaining to (coded) visual information. It all comes together in Visual and Multimodal Communication: Applying the Relevance Principle (Oxford UP 2020).

Dr Charles Forceville
Universiteit van Amsterdam

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This page is a summary of: Review of Engelhardt (2002):, Document Design, October 2003, John Benjamins, DOI: 10.1075/dd.4.3.16for.
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